The 18 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In NYC Right Now guide image

NYCGuide

The 18 Most Exciting Dinner Spots In NYC Right Now

A night out at one of these places—whether it’s for a catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night—feels overwhelmingly of the moment.

For anyone wondering which restaurants are currently hot in New York City right this second, you've arrived at the right internet place. A night out at one of these places—whether it’s for a casual catch-up with a friend or an impressive date night—feels overwhelmingly of the moment. Many of the restaurants below are brand spanking new, but we’ve also listed older spots doing novel and noteworthy things. And, as always, we aren't recommending any of these places simply for being sceney. We’ve been to each and every one of these restaurants, and we love the food they serve.

THE SPOTS

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133 Chrystie St, New York
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Bonnie's remains extremely tough to get into, and it's worth the hassle—but if you want to eat exciting new Cantonese-American food without having to wake up at 6am to make a reservation, try Potluck Club. Dishes like salt and pepper chicken served with chive biscuits, pickled jalapeños, and a chili crisp jam embody the restaurant’s concept while also being the kind of things you want to eat every day. This spot was opened by the folks behind Milk & Cream bar, so it’s no surprise that dessert—Dole Whip soft serve topped with a bolo bao crumble—should not be skipped.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Le Rock review image
8.4

Le Rock

You might head to Rockefeller Center only once a year (right around now) to glance at a very tall tree that was sacrificed to wear an outfit of colored lights. Kill two birds and plan a meal at this French brasserie while you're there. Le Rock is from the Frenchette team, and the large Art Deco space is packed every night. There are plenty of raw bar items to choose from, in addition to classics like garlicky escargots. But the meat dishes are priority number one. Think of the best filet you’ve ever had. It'll get bumped to second place after you try the ridiculously tender bison au poivre.

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Bed-Stuy’s OStudio is a creative coworking space and cafe where you’ll find artists making big, beautiful ceramics and quilts during daylight hours. From 5:30-10:30pm, the space turns into a wine bar called OStudio at Night with a tightly curated wine selection and a permanent list of small plates from house chef Omri Silberstein. This place also hosts bi-weekly chef residencies. In the past, we’ve had burrata with fermented black bean and roasted radishes topped with big jewels of roe.

You might know Kwame Onwuache from his DC restaurants or his run on Top Chef, but you’re about to know him for being the guy who single-handedly made Lincoln Center cool again. Tatiana, located inside David Geffen Hall (the one with the Philharmonic) feels like a quiet nightclub and serves food that blends Afro-Caribbean flavors with iconic New York dishes. Think: egusi dumplings and a mizuna caesar salad with Trini green seasoning. The one thing you must order is the Wagyu short rib pastrami suya, served with little caraway-laced coco bread buns. It’s the best new pastrami sandwich in Manhattan.

The fun thing about this restaurant is that you can pretend you were invited to an intimate Fort Greene dinner party, even though you’ve never been invited to an intimate Fort Greene dinner party. Here, you sit at a communal table and eat a four-course dinner that costs $40-$48 depending on what night you come. You might get dishes like french onion soup or coq au vin. We keep coming back, and every visit is better than the last. Don't forget to BYOB.

In 2019, All’Antico Vinaio popped up in NYC, and the lines made people seriously weigh the value of their time against the need for an Italian sandwich. A permanent location of this Florence import opened in Midtown, and a newer storefront in Greenwich Village has apparently not lessened the overall demand. Everything on the sandwich-only menu uses thin, crusty Tuscan schiacciata bread. The sandwiches are huge, and once you try one, you’ll want to try the rest. It’s good to have goals.

Really good barbecued meat on a stick is hard to beat. At Dhom, a Lao spot in the East Village, they've pretty much mastered the form. They have three types of skewers: duck heart, hanger steak, and chicken thigh, all marinated in a sweet-and-smoky sauce. Get them with a side of sticky rice, served with a garlicky chili sauce that will make your lips buzz. Pad out your order with spring rolls and a crunchy coconut rice salad. The food here is snacky and designed for drinking, so avail yourself of their extensive list of beer, sake, and cocktails.

Cuts & Slices is drawing long lines right now, so it's a good idea to come early. This spot in Bed-Stuy sets itself apart from other slice shops by offering a bunch of uncommon toppings like curry shrimp and jerk salmon. But the oxtail pies are the number one reason to come here. There are three different kinds, and the sweet chili one comes loaded with crispy, tender shredded oxtail. The chewy crust will remind you of a buttermilk biscuit (in taste, not texture), and it’s a good understated vehicle for all the aggressively-flavored toppings.

Skewers are having a moment (see Dhom above), and this Filipino street food shop that became popular in LA is where you should go in Woodside to get them. The skewers here range from tempura eggs and chicken feet to pork skin and chicken butt—and they all cost $1.50. Some of our favorites are the the fish tofu, crispy kikiam with a shameless amount of shrimp meat, and fiery red pork intestines full of melty fat.

If you have people visiting for the holidays and a Broadway show is in your near future, LumLum is where to go for an early dinner that's close to all the theaters. This Thai restaurant specializes in seafood, and it's one of our favorite places for a meal in Hell’s Kitchen. The space is bright and beachy, with bamboo walls and rattan furniture, and you'll probably hear the Beach Boys playing when you stop by. Lean into the coastal theme, and get some crab fried rice and massive charred river prawns.

Masalawala & Sons in Park Slope is the newest place from the team behind Dhamaka and Semma, and judging by crowds, we're not the only ones excited about it. At this point, the restaurant group know their brand: inventive, hyper-specific regional food you’ll have a hard time finding elsewhere in the city. This time, the focus is on Bengali food, which means fish is king. Get the one wrapped in banana leaves, or try the fried fish with a tangy mustard on the side.

It’s hard to find really great fondue in NYC, but The Lavaux is good enough to make up for that fact. This traditional Swiss restaurant in the West Village has an array of cozy things, like a window table that’s literally inside of an enclosed ski lift car, a weathered wooden table with a built-in bread slicer, and enough copper bowls to make Julia Child jealous. Now is the time to embrace fondue, so obviously order some here and enhance it with a cheese and charcuterie board. There’s also an impressive selection of Swiss wines.

If you see a line of people on the sidewalk around Orchard and Delancey, it’s probably for Okiboru, a noodle shop with a few other locations in Georgia. Only counter seating is available, so you’ll get to hear everything going on in your neighbor’s life as you eat one of the two types of ramen offered here. The tsukemen comes with udon-like cold noodles that you dip in a warm, concentrated chicken and fish broth, and the soupy ramen is made with a super rich, milky broth that'll immediately conjure images of pork bones in your head.

Hainan Jones is officially our favorite vendor at the new Urban Hawker food hall, and we’re not alone. Wait times for their Hainanese chicken rice can stretch up to 45 minutes, and they’ve run out long before closing on multiple occasions. But if you’ve got the time, you won’t be disappointed. You can get your chicken roasted or fried, but we prefer the classic poached version. It comes out tender and juicy with skin that falls off like the ol’ bird just got home from a long day.

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One of the best new restaurants we’ve been to this year, Koloman (in the old Breslin space) serves decadent, inventive Viennese food with a French twist. The open kitchen gives major Ratatouille vibes, the service is tight, and every dish has a surprising element, from starters like a celery root tartare to a duck egg creme brulee for dessert. Come hungry, and order at least two things from every section of the menu.

What started as a delivery operation with weeks-long waiting lists now has a permanent home in Prospect Heights. Pecking House’s new counter-service location looks a bit like a small cafeteria at a trendy tech company, but it’s a perfectly fine place to consume large amounts of poultry. Your priority should be the chili fried chicken with thick, crunchy skin covered in a firecracker dry rub, which you can get in a huge sandwich or as a meal with sides. You'll still probably wait a bit at this new location, but at least you won't have to hope that you're still in the mood for fried chicken three Wednesdays from now like before.

With consistent cold weather about to be a very real thing, you're going to want to have a meal at Kru, a Williamsburg Thai restaurant where the dishes pack a lot of heat. The food is vibrant and vegetable-heavy, making liberal use of excellent produce sourced from Hudson Valley farmers. We especially love the Thai relish plates. The pork jowl version is mellow and creamy, while the nam prik almond variety is layered, floral, and has some serious kick to it. Your server will probably warn you several times that the beef tongue curry is very, very spicy. It is, and you should order it.

Founded in the 1930s, Monkey Bar has changed hands a few times over the years (such as in 2009, when it was bought by Graydon Carter). The newest iteration—from the team behind Au Cheval and 4 Charles Prime Rib—feels especially promising. This old-school Midtown restaurant still has a big sunken dining room that features plush red booths and a wraparound mural of Jazz Age celebrities, but the menu is brand new. The food includes everything from pasta and fried chicken to steakhouse staples like a dry-aged porterhouse. They also serve the same cheese-smothered burger that you’ll find at Au Cheval, and you should eat one in the walk-in-only tavern area.

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